Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald threw cold water on a couple of Gov. Scott Walker's top priorities Friday, saying he was cut out of negotiations between the governor and Assembly on a tax cut deal and juvenile justice overhaul.
Fitzgerald told The Associated Press that both proposals, which passed the Assembly this week, will have serious problems getting through the Senate with no changes. The Assembly has adjourned for the year and Speaker Robin Vos reiterated to the AP on Friday that the chamber has no intention of coming back.
"If the Senate doesn't want to pass the tax cut, they can kill it and take the blame," Vos said...
Several major pieces of Walker's agenda that he hopes to run for re-election on this year got through the Assembly this week. That includes a $100 per-child tax credit and sales tax holiday, a plan to close the troubled Lincoln Hills juvenile prison and overhaul the juvenile justice system, $350 million for a new adult prison, $4 million for more prosecutors and an incentive package to persuade Kimberly-Clark not to shed 600 jobs in northeastern Wisconsin.
Fitzgerald didn't commit to any of those passing the Senate unchanged and said he "absolutely" felt like he was cut out of negotiations between Vos and Walker.
Now Fitz is hitting back, apparently
And Fitz is continuing to publically voice concerns about the AssGOP/Walker bills. Take a look at what's going to be broadcast tomorrow statewide.
Lincoln Hills bill in jeopardy, Fitzgerald calls holiday tax rebate “gimmicky”— Emilee Fannon (@Emilee_WKOW) February 23, 2018
Full interview this Sunday on Capital City Sunday.https://t.co/7X82HjRka6
Another complication is that even if the Senate were to pass these bills next month, if any of those bills are changed in the Upper House, then the Assembly would have to come back and agree to those changes for those bills to go to the Governor’s desk. And as noted in the quote above, Robbin' Vos seems intent on giving State Reps a 10 1/2 paid vacation over having to do more work to make sure those bills can become law.
Given how the bills stand today, they might not fly in the Senate, and not just because Fitz is pulling a tantrum from being kept away from discussions between Vos and Governor Walker. Given the tighter margins in the Senate (18-14 vs 63-35 in the Assembly) and the expense involved (which would put a major hole in the 2019-21 budget). Along those lines, Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had this headline yesterday. "New spending and tax cuts to cost more than $700 million under actions by Wisconsin lawmakers."
A tally by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that lawmakers have voted for up to $678 million in one-time spending or tax cuts for an adult prison, child tax rebate, lockups for juvenile offenders and limits on welfare.That tight budget situation could be a problem for GOPs in the Senate, and not just the ones up for re-election in November, as there are also 9 GOPs that will continue in the Senate past 2018. Those individuals will have to deal with the fallout from these pre-election gimmicks by having to deal with the harsh measures needed to fill in the next budget hole if they were all to become law.
On top of that, legislators voted for roughly $220 million in ongoing yearly costs to lock up more repeat offenders, boost rural jobs programs, and hold down prices within the Obamacare insurance market. Republicans pushed the bills, though some Democrats also voted for some of them....
The Senate could still amend that bill, but it currently would return $174 million to taxpayers. The Assembly also approved a bill to spend $50 million a year on rural jobs programs.
If approved by the Senate, those bills and several other minor ones would leave the state with $207 million in its main account in June 2019, or enough to run the state for four days.
Given that a few of these Senators up in 2020 are in swing areas, with the GOP's current Senate majority is already in jeopardy for November (more so if SCOTUS throws out the legislative map in the redistricting case), let’s see if they’re gung-ho to sign on to bills that will be likely look very bad for the state's fiscal outlook by November.